This fall, I jetted halfway around the world to Palau, a beautiful Micronesian island nation where the people are friendly, the culture is fascinating, and the reefs are spectacular. Palau’s an archipelago (a group of islands), and visitors can choose to stay at traditional resorts on one of the main islands or at funkier places in the Rock Islands.
If your family is looking for a classic resort experience, the Palau Pacific Resort is the place for you. The luxury resort features 160 bungalow-style guestrooms, all of which are comfortable and well-appointed (after a long flight from Philly to Palau, the light-as-air comforters on the PPR beds felt like heaven). Families will love the 1000-foot white sand beach, where they can rent aqua bikes, sailboats, and kayaks, as well as kick back in cushy lounge chairs. Even better, the resort is committed to biodiversity, offering a “clam planting program” (an opportunity for guests to plant their own baby giant clams at the resort’s private lagoon), a nature trail (where guests can see kingfishers and Palau fruit doves), and a fish pond (where baby stingrays make their home).
Some families, on the other hand, aren’t looking for all the amenities; they’re all about diving, and that’s it. For them, Carp Island Resortmight be just the ticket. Sure, you can only reach it by a 45-minute boat ride, and sure, the cottages are rustic, but the roughing-it feel of this place is part of the fun. At Carp Island, you’re sort of glamping, but you’re in a beautiful spot to see the sunrise and catch the dive boat out to the reefs.
Want luxury and Palau charm? Check out two sister properties, Palau Plantation Resort on the large island of Koror and Ngellil Nature Island Resort. a brand-new, eight room property on one of Palau’s outlying islands. At the Plantation, tucked away but in the heart of all the Palau action, you’ll find twenty matchless guest rooms, a tranquil spa, an outdoor pool, and walkways through carefully planted jungle plants. Ngellil, on the other hand, is all about isolation and peace. The resort staff will transfer you to and from the airport by car and boat; once you’re there, you’ll revel in the silence (not to mention the delicious barbecue meals). Designed to harmonize with nature, the resort has only two buildings, one housing the luxe guest rooms and the other serving as lobby and restaurant. Families can enjoy sea kayaking and sailing tours, hikes on the private hiking trails, and relaxing in the plentiful hammocks around the property.